Well this is not an easy feat. Lots of brain work is happening. Logic, common sense and direction is all coming into play! How To Plan To Walk Hadrians Wall With Kids.
I am sat here with my trusty new sidekick, the ‘Cicerone Guide To Walking Hadrians Wall’, written by Mark Richards. I do love a good plan, but this is proving tricky.
Hadrians Wall is an 84 mile National Trail that starts in Wallsend and ends in Bowness-On-Solway. And vice versa. It can be walked along either way and we are choosing to walk it east to west to end up at the beautiful beach of Bowness.
Work on the wall started in AD117 when Emperor Hadrian Aelius came in to power. After being unable to conquer Scotland, he wanted to put a separation between the Romans and the ‘barbarians’.
The wall became a UNESCO heritage site in 1987 after being recognised as one of the finest surviving frontier work from any part of the Roman Empire. An attraction that now draws thousands of people every year to take in some of the best preserved Roman history in the UK.
Some people walk it all in one go, the record being 31 hours (whereas somebody ran it in 16 hours) but most choose to take their time and complete over an average of 10 days. Along the wall are Roman forts to be explored, museums and countless other parts of history to delve in to.
Sectioning It Off.
So. How do I plan to walk Hadrians Wall with kids? So far, I have split the walk into 8 days.
- Day 1. Wallsend to Heddon-on-the-wall. 13.3 miles.
- Day 2. Heddon-on-the-wall to The Portgate. 9.6 miles.
- Day 3. The Portgate to Carrawburgh. 11.1 miles.
- Day 4. Carrawburgh to Steel Rig. 7.2 miles. This day will be our eldest son’s 11th birthday and I’m hoping to plan something special at Sycamore Gap.
- Day 5. Steel Rig to Gilsland. 9.9 miles.
- Day 6. Gilsland to Oldwall. 11.2 miles.
- Day 7. Oldwall to Grinsdale. 10.6 miles.
- Day 8. Grinsdale to Bowness-On-Solway. 11.7 miles.
Places To Stay
We will stay in accommodation the night before the hike begins, and on the last day it ends, before driving back home. We will also book accommodation for 3 or 4 nights along the way, but will be taking along our tent to do a spot of wild camping if we can! There are a few campsites on the trail and I’m looking forward to getting the tent back out again.
Deb from www.myboysclub.co.uk were lucky enough to stay at Hadrian’s Holiday Lodges, so we will definitely have a look at that possibility. The lodges are B&B which is very appealing.
There is a bus service that runs all along the wall so accommodation doesn’t have to be right on it. We can afford to travel in and out of the local villages to gain a variety of places to stay. So far we have booked a private apartment and a small hotel through booking.com.
Inspiration and Advice
I have been reading blogs such as What’s Dave Doing and Changes in Longtitude who have given great advice about their experience of walking the wall. Although, they are not from the UK, so it would be nice to read about somebody from my homeland who walked the wall.
We are very active on Instagram and gain our inspiration from outdoor people on that platform. Such as Becky who has an amazing website full of routes for the Peak District and beyond, and who also walked 950 miles from the most easternly point, to the most westerly point of the UK. She has also completed Hadrians wall and is fantastic for advice on long distance hiking.
Also, James Michael Forrest, dubbed the mountain man, has scoured the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Ireland in record timing. He can surely teach us a few things about perseverance and the sense of adventure.
@Fizzymarmalade have carried out many multi-day hikes,including the Appalachian Trail. They are serious hikers and having 4 children has only fueled their love for long distance hiking. Go check them out on Instagram.
And also the Woodalls who recently completed the West Highland Way with their youngest child only 3 years old.
Our self made training program consists of many weekends on long distance hikes. Also, every opportunity to camp along the way will be utilised. We need to practice getting the tent up quick, just in case of rainfall that will inevitably bequeath us. But, we will keep our walks low level, as Hadrians Wall isn’t very technical in terms of height or rocks. We jut need the stamina. The kids are very resilient, but I’m under no illusion that it will be all plain sailing!
We will be walking the wall for our own achievements, but we would also like to raise some money for charity too. ‘Mountains for the Mind‘ and ‘Mind‘ charity need help to raise awareness of how the outdoors can benefit your mental health. For the children to grow up happy, these support systems need to be in place and awareness to be increased. Which is why we would like to raise money for Mind. If you would like to donate, there is a link below.
This will be a good challenge for us. Physically, emotionally and mentally. I am looking forward to the experience and hoping the weather doesn’t come down on us too hard! Follow along for updates here and on Instagram or Facebook to see what we get up to in the coming months, and how our training is progressing.